Anticoagulation therapy in stroke patients with atrial fibrillation: a registry-based study of acute stroke care in Surrey, UK

Thang S Han, Christopher Fry, David Fluck, Brendan Affley, Giosue Gulli, Christopher Barrett, Puneet Kakar, Tasmin Patel, Sapna Sharma, Pankaj Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
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Introduction: Because of their high risk of stroke, anticoagulation therapy is recommended for most patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). The present study evaluated the use of anticoagulants in the community and in a hospital setting for patients with AF and its associations with stroke.Methods: Patients admitted with stroke to 4 major hospitals in County of Surrey, England were surveyed in the 2014-16 Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP). Descriptive statistics was used to summarise subject characteristics and chi-squared test to assess differences between categorical variables.Results: A total of 3309 patients, 1656 men (mean age: 73.1yrs ±SD 13.2) and 1653 women (79.3yrs ±13.0) were admitted with stroke (83.3% with infarct, 15.7% haemorrhagic stroke and 1% unspecified). AF occurred more frequently (2=62.4; p<0.001) among patients admitted with recurrent (30.2%) rather than with first stroke (17.1%). There were 666 (20.1%) patients admitted with a history of AF, amongst whom 304 (45.3%) were anticoagulated, 279 (41.9%) were untreated and 85 (12.8%) deemed unsuitable for anticoagulation. Of the 453 patients with history of AF admitted with a first infarct stroke, 138 (37.2%) were on anticoagulation and 41 (49.6%) were not (2 = 6.3; p<0.043), and thrombolysis was given more frequently for those without prior anticoagulation treatment (16.1 %) or unsuitable for anticoagulation (23.6%) compared with those already on anticoagulation treatment (8.3%; 2=10.0; p=0.007). Of 2,643 patients without a previous history of AF, 171 (6.5%) were identified with AF during hospitalisation. Of patients with AF who presented with infarct stroke who were not anticoagulated or deemed unsuitable for anticoagulation prior to admission, 91.8% and 75.0%, respectively, were anticoagulated on discharge.Conclusions: The study highlights an existing burden for stroke patients and reflects inadequate treatment of AF which results in an increased stroke burden. There is significant scope to improve the rates of anticoagulation.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere022558
Number of pages8
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number7
Early online date11 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • cardiac arrhythmias
  • cardiovascular disease
  • drug therapy


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